What makes a good leader at work?

Kaitlin Madden, CareerBuilder writer Share This Post Vince Lombardi once said "Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal tha t is worthwhile." While this quote is certainly inspiring, it also inspires a pr etty heavy sense of responsibility. Essentially, what Lombardi is telling us fro m beyond the grave is that we each have the potential to be a great leader, but whether we foster or suppress that potential is solely up to us. So how can you make Coach Lombardi proud? According to experts, regardless of wh ether you're a top executive or you manage a couple of interns, if you want to e ffectively hold a leadership position, there are certain steps you should take a nd skills you should develop in order to get there. "Leadership isn't simply about standing on a mountain and screaming, 'Follow me! '" says Sam Bacharach, a professor at Cornell's International Labor Relations Sc hool. "It is about the nuts and bolts of execution. Leadership is an everyday ac tivity. In that sense, leadership is about your political capacity to mobilize p eople and your managerial capacity to engage them and sustain momentum. Leadersh ip is something that can be learned. It is a question of acquiring specific skil ls." If you want to be a good leader at work, these are the skills and abilities to c ultivate: Relationship building Relationship building is the most fundamental element of leadership. Establishin g strong relationships with people enables them to trust and respect you, in tur n giving them a reason to follow your lead. "In the area of relationships, establishing rapport, promoting acceptance of dif ferences, building trust and empowering others are key skills to develop," says Adam Bandelli, principle of RHR International, an executive leadership coaching firm. While each of these components is a key to strong relationships, the most indisp ensable -- but also the most challenging -- is establishing trust, Bandelli says . "[The ability to build] trust is the most important skill in the relationship domain, but takes the longest to do because the development of trust between lea der and direct report takes time," he says. "[But] the leaders that develop trus t the quickest are direct, open to feedback and equally transparent with all of their people." Goal setting Leadership attempts will prove futile if you don't have a clear cut idea of wher e you're leading people. In other words, no one will want to get on board your i dea train if they have no clue where it's going. Thus, it's critical to set goal s for your team. "Setting a meaningful vision is critical to the effectiveness of any leader beca use it sets the stage for strategically aligning the team around a unified purpo se, provides each player on the team with a role that ties back to the collectiv e vision and serves as a rallying cry that inspires the team," Bandelli says. "W hen a meaningful vision is not put in to place by the leader and his [or] her te

it will give them a reason to work together.'" says Ashford. "A great leader can only positively influe nce and impact others when they know [their leader] isn't going to wimp out or a bandon ship when it gets tough. assignments. then it becomes easier to delegate the right assignments to the right people at the r ight points in time. Authenticity and follow through These two go hand-in-hand: By consistently demonstrating each.whether subordinates or peers -. let me say that delegation should never be seen -." the good ones choose not to. When a leader knows his or her people well. set an example by not giving up. or areas of the business too soon can create havoc and derail a high potential individual. you'll be able to increase the amount of influence you have in the workplace. Throw in the towel when you come across a challenge and you'll lose credibility." www.to develop.am." Adds Bandelli: "In the area of cultivating influence. Not only will this give each member of your team a reason to work hard. and assessing and u tilizing others' strengths makes everybody better and fosters teamwork. and it may not be something you can start doing right away." So be sure to deliver on whatever responsibility you take on or goal you set. set a quarterly goal to b e the top-grossing sales team in the company. and outline the way each person is expected to contribute to the team vision. since people will l earn that they can count on you and thus be more likely to support your ideas. the most important soft sk ill is authenticity. is that it need s to be done thoughtfully. In the same vein. they're likely to see you as someone who says things just because they soun d good. however." Bandelli says. face challenges and shine. "Leadership is about influence and impact." says Victoria Ashford. the focus of the group can become clouded and ultimately lead to derailment. " If you manage a team of five salespeople. like building up your client base.careerbuilder. "[Delegation] is intimately tied to how a leader builds the capabilities of those around them. leadership co ach and owner of FearlessLeading. for example. A leader who is authentic with his [or] her people generate s respect.com. but because the goal is collective. If that sales team of yours is working their butts off trying to outperform the re st of the company while you're sidetracked with other projects and not contribut ing. loyalty and commitment. "Delegating is an important leadership quality [becaus e] releasing some power or authority in regard to certain tasks or projects can help others -." One of the crucial points to remember about delegation. Delegation While leaders are often people who can "do it all. Delegation is [also] a good time management practice.com . if you take on a project and run into trouble while ca rrying it out. The following quarter. "First of all.or used as -'dumping. and takes the time to pu t in place a formalized development plan for each of their direct reports. "Delegating responsibilities. set a different sale s goal or work towards something new.

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